DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Founded in 1958 as a response to the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch, this agency has been at the absolute forefront of new technologies, ranging from the Internet (they created ARPANET) to sophisticated military systems.
They also play a large role in the development of unique and often terrifying robotics, which will one day undoubtedly lead to the extinction of all mankind.
In preparation for this ultimate Robot Apocalypse, here are 7 DARPA robots that you should acquaint yourself with.
So you know what to run from.
1. The Big Dog – LS3 Robot
BigDog may have been frightening with its fly-like buzzing and uncanny movement over terrain, but this upgraded bot is even more feature-packed: It can follow voice commands…
2. Pet-Proto, AKA The Terminator
DARPA’s Pet-Proto robot is a humanoid monstrosity that can (almost) effortlessly navigate and climb stairs. It’s capable of “autonomous decision-making,” and showcases an extraordinary amount of dexterity for a robot (so you can’t get away).
3. The Cheetah
Oh, so you think Pet-Proto is a bit too lumbering to be a threat. You can just outrun it, right?
Try outrunning this: DARPA’s Cheetah robot, which broke the land speed record at 28.3 mph.
“Like a real-life cheetah and other swift land runners, it’s built to be able to navigate difficult terrain that cyborgs riding on wheels or tracks can’t.”
4. V-Bat, AKA The Flying Claw
I can imagine it now: I’m sitting outside on the patio, reading a book, minding my own business…when suddenly a giant, clawed Tylenol pops over the fence and eats my face.
At least, that’s what I see in a future that includes this modified UAV, complete with 6-foot extendable claw.
5. The Ant-Roach
The Ant-Roach is an inflatable walking robot designed by Otherlab (with “some funding” from DARPA) that looks a bit like a blue, six-legged elephant (perhaps something out of Dumbo’s trippy dreamscapes).
“Since these robots are built out of lightweight fabric-and-air structural members and powered via pneumatics or hydraulics, they exhibit large strength-to-weight ratios. For example, Ant-Roach is less than 70 lbs and can probably support up to 1000 lbs…”
6. The…Robot Arm Thing
I’m…not sure. This robot arm is also inflatable, and was actually created by iRobot. But DARPA’s thrown some money at it for further development.
Watch as it rises from its mobile cage like the creature from the black lagoon, snatches a bottle of Gatorade and…throws it on the floor.
Way to litter, Robot Arm Thing.
7. The Soft Camouflage Bot
Finally, we have this silicone camouflage robot made by scientists at Harvard University in conjunction with DARPA. Inspired by the natural abilities of cephalopods, it can (mostly) change its pattern or color to match the environment.
So. Scared, yet?
You will be. You. Will. Be.